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Masterpiece Theater

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ENTERTAINMENT
October 11, 1987 | By Ken Tucker, Inquirer TV Critic
The Bretts, tonight's season-opener for Masterpiece Theater (Channel 12 at 9), begins the eight-part chronicle of an English family during the 1920s. This may sound like your average Masterpiece, but it's not: The Bretts are a family of actors, treading the boards on the London stage and making catty remarks as they stalk through their decaying mansion. They pose and they preen; they bruise one another's egos and quote Chekhov for breakfast. Even Alistair Cooke is roused from his usual torpor in introducing the premiere of The Bretts.
NEWS
June 21, 2015 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
Aidan Turner, so dashing as the soulful vampire with a conscience in BBC's Being Human , is in top form as the lead in Brit import Poldark , a gorgeously shot eight-part costumer set along England's Cornish coastline. The Masterpiece series premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday on PBS (locally on WHYY-TV). Based on novels by 20th-century author Winston Graham and previously adapted for TV in the mid-1970s with Robin Ellis in the titular role, Poldark is glossy, attractive, and exciting.
NEWS
May 9, 1987 | By Ken Tucker, Inquirer TV Critic
Love Song, a two-part Masterpiece Theater presentation beginning tomorrow (9 p.m., Channel 12), is based on a story by Jeffrey Archer, the best- selling novelist of naughtiness and former deputy chairman of Britain's Conservative Party who resigned in October 1986 in the midst of a sex scandal. Given the fact of Archer's authorship and the moony title of this project, one might be forgiven for hoping that Love Song would be an enjoyable wallow in the mud, an occasion for the usually high-minded Masterpiece Theater to go slumming.
NEWS
May 19, 1989
Alistair Cooke, a naturalized citizen who still talks funny, is featured on a recent mailing from a group that wants to give the United States an official language, English. The theory is that if English remains just an unofficial habit rather than something written into the Constitution, new immigrants - especially Hispanics - will turn the United States into a house divided by language, which would be just awful. (Without good English as a bond, just think how much worse the Civil War would have been!
ENTERTAINMENT
March 22, 1986 | By David Bianculli, Inquirer TV Critic
If you're a college basketball fan, you're in luck this afternoon. If you're a fan of quality TV, you're out of luck tonight - except for a Nell Carter special and, believe it or not, Saturday Night Live. DAYTIME HIGHLIGHT NCAA BASKETBALL REGIONAL FINALS (1:30 p.m., Ch. 10) - In the West, it's Louisville vs. Auburn. In the Southeast, it's Kentucky vs. Louisiana State. Today's regional finals are played in that order, live from Houston and Atlanta, respectively. CBS. Three of the four women's regional finals, by the way, can be seen from 6 p.m. to midnight on cable's ESPN.
NEWS
December 3, 1988 | By Ken Tucker, Inquirer TV Critic
Heaven on Earth, the new single-episode edition of Masterpiece Theater airing tomorrow (Channel 12 at 9 p.m.), dramatizes one result of Britain's Industrial Revolution at the end of the 19th century: an unusually large number of orphans. These were children whose parents neglected them while they worked in the booming factories, or who were the survivors of parents who died from the frequent industrial accidents. Many of these luckless young people were sent to Canada and placed in foster homes - more than 125,000 of them between 1865 and 1914, in fact, under a program organized by a British feminist, Susan Rye. All of this is explained by Masterpiece host Alastair Cooke before the start of this 90-minute, Canadian-made production, and it's a good thing, too, because Heaven on Earth itself provides little historical context.
NEWS
March 28, 2012 | Ellen Gray Daily News Staff Writer
Turns out dudes did watch "Downton Abbey. " We knew it all along, thanks to the guys who spoke with Daily News reporter Molly Eichel last month about what the hit "Masterpiece Theater" costume drama meant to them. And now PBS finally has some numbers to back it up. Ratings for "Downton's" Season 2 were up at least 100 percent among female and male 18- to 34-year-olds above the previous season's average for the "Masterpiece" series, the network reported Wednesday, citing Nielsen's finale ratings.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 10, 1994 | By Carlin Romano, INQUIRER BOOK CRITIC
To TV types, Masterpiece Theater is the name of a high-quality show, winner of 26 Emmys, 23 years young, the longest-running prime-time drama series in America. That makes Middlemarch, the six-part Masterpiece adaptation of George Eliot's acclaimed novel about English provincial life that debuts tonight at 9 on Channel 12, just another episode to insiders. But since when do book types let TV types do their thinking for them? Last week, Harry Evans, droll British-born president of Random House, invented his own genre of "masterpiece theater.
NEWS
October 17, 1986 | By Lee Winfrey, Inquirer Staff Writer
Masterpiece Theater, one of the most enduring and beloved of all television series, will begin its 16th season Sunday. Since works by six solid English fiction writers will be dramatized, its prospects for 1986-87 look promising. Sometimes I worry that Masterpiece's best nights may be behind it, because almost a decade has passed since its finest achievement, the unforgettable Upstairs, Downstairs, closed its Edwardian doors. But because the value of good scripts is never to be underestimated, it's hard to throw rocks in advance at this schedule for the coming season: Paradise Postponed, based on a 1985 novel of the same name by John Mortimer, will present the first of 11 episodes at 9 Sunday night on PBS (Channel 12)
ENTERTAINMENT
November 23, 1990 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Staff Writer
Bye Bye Blues, winner of scads of awards in film festival competitions and at the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars, is a wistful, period-piece romance - not a superheated tearjerker, but a gently dolorous tale in the Masterpiece Theater mold. One that hinges on real experiences, real emotion. A home-front drama set amid the tumult of World War II, the film, written and directed by Canadian Anne Wheeler, deals with a woman's struggle to find a degree of happiness - and independence - while her husband is overseas, his fate unknown.
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NEWS
June 21, 2015 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
Aidan Turner, so dashing as the soulful vampire with a conscience in BBC's Being Human , is in top form as the lead in Brit import Poldark , a gorgeously shot eight-part costumer set along England's Cornish coastline. The Masterpiece series premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday on PBS (locally on WHYY-TV). Based on novels by 20th-century author Winston Graham and previously adapted for TV in the mid-1970s with Robin Ellis in the titular role, Poldark is glossy, attractive, and exciting.
NEWS
March 28, 2012 | Ellen Gray Daily News Staff Writer
Turns out dudes did watch "Downton Abbey. " We knew it all along, thanks to the guys who spoke with Daily News reporter Molly Eichel last month about what the hit "Masterpiece Theater" costume drama meant to them. And now PBS finally has some numbers to back it up. Ratings for "Downton's" Season 2 were up at least 100 percent among female and male 18- to 34-year-olds above the previous season's average for the "Masterpiece" series, the network reported Wednesday, citing Nielsen's finale ratings.
SPORTS
May 20, 2001 | By Bob Brookover INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
This was masterpiece theater, a classic tale of hero against villain with everything on the line. As far as the Veterans Stadium crowd of 24,499 was concerned, the story had a happy ending last night. Mighty J.D. Drew struck out, and the Phillies celebrated a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, thanks to the brilliant complete-game pitching performance of Robert Person. Person, who never has been known for his ability to finish what he starts, headed to the mound in the top of the ninth inning trying to protect a one-run lead.
NEWS
February 9, 1995
Like art itself, the beauty of federal funding for the arts appears to be in the eye of the beholder. To a Newt Gingrich, perhaps, the 30-year-old program that provides nearly $350 million a year in seed money to artists and institutions is a "plaything . . . patronage for an elite group. " That's a conservative Republican view born of years-old controversies over grants made to a handful of avant-garde artists who, surprise, produced controversial works. Given the ascendancy of the GOP in Washington, the Gingrich view is threatening to bring down the curtain on federal aid. But there's another perspective on federal arts funding - or, rather, thousands of others.
NEWS
January 12, 1995 | by Ellen Gray, Daily News Staff Writer
If there's anything that distinguishes British actors from Americans - beyond their accents, of course - it's their matter-of-fact approach to work. Any work. They like to get paid, they like to keep busy. While American actors have tended to draw sharp lines between the worlds of television and film, British actors often move from theater to television to film and back again, with no apparent loss of self-esteem or reputation. Sir Derek Jacobi, who played the title role in "I, Claudius" nearly two decades ago, returns to the small screen tonight, sans stammer, in "Cadfael," a four-part PBS "Mystery!"
NEWS
October 17, 1994 | by Phil Rosenthal, Los Angeles Daily News
First, Robert MacNeil announces he will retire from PBS next year as major cutbacks come to "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour," long considered one of the real gems in public television's uneasy crown. Next thing you know, Bert will abandon Ernie, the Frugal Gourmet will go with franks and beans, and "Masterpiece Theater" will devote itself to the works of that famed British novelist, Jackie Collins. That's the way it seems things are at PBS these days, which is to say not real good.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 10, 1994 | By Carlin Romano, INQUIRER BOOK CRITIC
To TV types, Masterpiece Theater is the name of a high-quality show, winner of 26 Emmys, 23 years young, the longest-running prime-time drama series in America. That makes Middlemarch, the six-part Masterpiece adaptation of George Eliot's acclaimed novel about English provincial life that debuts tonight at 9 on Channel 12, just another episode to insiders. But since when do book types let TV types do their thinking for them? Last week, Harry Evans, droll British-born president of Random House, invented his own genre of "masterpiece theater.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 23, 1990 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Staff Writer
Bye Bye Blues, winner of scads of awards in film festival competitions and at the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars, is a wistful, period-piece romance - not a superheated tearjerker, but a gently dolorous tale in the Masterpiece Theater mold. One that hinges on real experiences, real emotion. A home-front drama set amid the tumult of World War II, the film, written and directed by Canadian Anne Wheeler, deals with a woman's struggle to find a degree of happiness - and independence - while her husband is overseas, his fate unknown.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 31, 1989 | By William B. Collins, Inquirer Theater Critic
The 1980s will be remembered by local theater historians as the time when Philadelphia gained its independence from Broadway. The city had long since lost its status as a Broadway tryout town. Road companies were dwindling in number. Thrown back on its own resources, the city finally discovered the pleasure of another kind of theatergoing. The phenomenal growth of the regional theater was one of the major developments of the 1980s in Philadelphia's performing arts. A decade that began with one notable professional producing company, the Philadelphia Drama Guild, in the city picked up four more that could be ranked in that category: the Walnut Street Theater Company, the Wilma Theater, the Philadelphia Festival Theater for New Plays and the American Music Theater Festival.
NEWS
May 19, 1989
Alistair Cooke, a naturalized citizen who still talks funny, is featured on a recent mailing from a group that wants to give the United States an official language, English. The theory is that if English remains just an unofficial habit rather than something written into the Constitution, new immigrants - especially Hispanics - will turn the United States into a house divided by language, which would be just awful. (Without good English as a bond, just think how much worse the Civil War would have been!
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